leagueoflegends: Official Skin Gentleman Cho'Gath from League of Legends (Gentleman Cho'Gath)
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For those individuals who have not yet reached level 20:
Don't buy runes before you hit level 20. They're a waste.

I'm serious.

Before level 20, your money is better invested in buying champions that you enjoy using in a variety of roles. After all, runes won't save you when someone chooses the only champion you're good at. After you have a few champions, save your IP for runes.

Optimal Rune Choices for Level 20 Summoners
Congratulations! You've hit level 20. That means a second Quintessence slot and more mastery pages!

Don't think runes are a worthwhile investment at your current level?
Spend some IP on Mana Regen/lvl Seals (Greater Seal of Clarity). They won't make a difference on some champions that don't use mana (Akali, Lee Sin, Renekton, Rumble, Rengar, Vladimir, etc). However, for the ones that do, you'll be able to use your skills more frequently to help you learn champion abilities. Which should help you enjoy playing the game more without getting into all the specifics of runes. c;

Standard Rune Setup
When you hit level 20, you may still be unsure what champions you prefer and you might not have even tried all of the roles in the current meta. That being said, if you have found a role you play constantly or a few specific champions that you like, go ahead and buy runes tailored to them. Otherwise, you want the runes you buy to benefit you as much as possible, considering how much IP you have to spend on them.

These are standard runes that benefit every champion in almost any situation, in the order by which you should buy them:

Flat Armor Seals (Greater Seal of Resilience)
Magic Resist/lvl Glyphs (Greater Glyph of Shielding)
Health Quintessences (Greater Quintessence of Fortitude)
Armor Penetration Marks (Greater Mark of Desolation)
Magic Penetration Marks (Greater Mark of Insight)

A common designation for your first two rune pages are AP and AD. If you use a wide variety of champions with different skill sets, this is one of the simpler ways for you to optimize your play while still spending the least IP you can, buying the most versatile runes.

If you want to spend the IP to refine your AD and AP pages further, I suggest continuing with the following runes. They are general and apply to fewer champions, but they benefit the champions that do work with them immensely.
Flat AD Quintessences (Greater Quintessence of Strength)
Flat AP Quintessences (Greater Quintessence of Potency)
AP/lvl Glyphs (Greater Glyph of Force)
Mana Regen/lvl Seals (Greater Seal of Clarity)

Once you begin to specialize and find the roles you prefer most, then I suggest using your next 6300 IP to buy a third rune page. That way you can devote a new page to tanks, junglers, or supports without losing the rune page benefits of your other champions.
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